Archive for Saturday, December 8, 2012

Teen: Easy-Bake Oven should appeal to boys

December 8, 2012

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Four-year-old Gavyn Boscio loves to cook and asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. But when his big sister went to buy one, she discovered to her disappointment that it comes only in girly pink and purple, with girls — and only girls — on the box and in the commercials.

So the eighth-grader from Garfield, N.J., started an online petition asking Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro to make the toy ovens in gender-neutral colors and feature boys on the package.

By Friday, 13-year-old McKenna Pope’s petition had garnered more than 30,000 signatures in a little more than a week.

And celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who owned an Easy-Bake Oven as a boy, is among those weighing in on her side.

In a video McKenna made to accompany her petition on Change.org, Gavyn whips up a batch of cookies and tells his sister he wants a dinosaur and an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. When she asks him why there are no boys in the commercial for Easy-Bake Ovens, he explains: “Because only girls play with it.”

“Obviously, the way they’re marketing this product is influencing what he thinks and the way that he acts,” McKenna said in an interview. She said her little brother would probably be OK playing with a purple-and-pink oven by himself but would be too embarrassed to use it in front of his friends.

A spokesman for Hasbro did not return calls for comment.

In a letter McKenna received on Monday, a Hasbro representative told her the company has featured boys on the packaging over the years and said a brother and sister were finalists for the Easy-Bake “Baker of the Year” award in 2009. Hasbro also pointed to Flay as an example of a chef who traced his career to an early experience with the Easy-Bake.

McKenna found the response disappointing.

“All they really told me is that boys play with their products. I already know boys do play with your products, so why are you only marketing them to girls?” she said. “I don’t want them to make a boys’ Easy-Bake Oven and girls’ Easy-Bake Oven. I want them to make an Easy-Bake Oven for kids.”

The debate over whether toy companies are reinforcing gender stereotypes — pinks and princesses for girls, guns and gross things for boys — seems to flare every year, particularly at Christmas, and has involved such things as Legos, toy microscopes and Barbie dolls. Now, it has extended to another one of the most beloved baby boomer toys, introduced in the 1960s.

Flay, 47, said he asked for an Easy-Bake for Christmas when he was about 5. He remembers it as a “putrid green” and recalls baking cakes with his mother from mixes. (The Easy-Bake Oven back then used a light bulb as a heating element; now it operates more like a real oven.) At the time, he said, the stereotype was that only women cooked, but a lot has changed since then.

“I cannot tell you how many young boys are my fans. And they want to grow up, and they want to cook,” the Food Network star said.

Jim Silver, a toy expert and editor in chief of Timetoplaymag.com, played with an Easy-Bake himself as a kid and said boys still play with it, just as girls play with Hot Wheels cars. He said Hasbro is simply marketing to the audience most likely to buy the oven and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Comments

irvan moore 2 years, 4 months ago

you convinced me, i'm gonna get the grandaughter a bb gun for christmas

Lisa Medsker 2 years, 4 months ago

Why not? I had one, much to the dismay of my own Dad...

tomatogrower 2 years, 4 months ago

He probably thought you were going to shoot your eye out, kid. :>)

Lisa Medsker 2 years, 4 months ago

...and there went my water that was in my mouth, all over the desk, via my nose! Must remember to swallow before reading funny comments...

I must dig that DVD out, so my kids can see it!

Tony Kisner 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe an easy grill would be a good idea. Little lawn chair and radio playing the ballgame. Budwiser in 7 oz cans. I see a big market opportunity.

Aimee Polson 2 years, 4 months ago

No one is pitching a fit that footballs are marketed only to boys. The problem, to me, is not that the oven is a hideous swirly purple-pink that features girls on the box, but that boys are taught to dislike anything that is considered "girly." Pink is just as legitimate a color as blue and most young boys like pink until they are told not to.

parrothead8 2 years, 4 months ago

I agree with most of your point, except that I can't remember the last time I saw a football "marketed," to be honest. (Also, Nerf footballs come in almost every color, including so-called "girlie" colors.)

Why don't we just let kids like the colors they like, and not worry about what society tells them they "should" like?

Lisa Medsker 2 years, 4 months ago

EXACTLY! I had a football, because it's not shameful to "act like a boy" if you are a girl. However, if you are a boy, and you like anything that is associated with kindness, emotion, domestic slavery, or the color pink, it's "girly", and should be a source of shame.

RaynRavyn 2 years, 4 months ago

My son has a teal and silver Easy Bake oven. They actually come in several color combinations, if you choose to actually look for it, and not just go to one store (and pick up publicity. Just like the "Guess Who kid").

lunacydetector 2 years, 4 months ago

a woman that can cook is a rare exception these days.

Lisa Medsker 2 years, 4 months ago

Not at all. However, a woman who is willing to devote her entire life to "cooking for a man" is definitely a rarity.

Katara 2 years, 4 months ago

Very few people can cook today as it is not a skill that is really taught anymore.

tomatogrower 2 years, 4 months ago

rockchalk1977, turn off the druggie today.

Katara 2 years, 4 months ago

I just remember hearing stories of people using their old Easy Bake oven as a way to dry their pot. I don't know if it really happened though.

Centerville 2 years, 4 months ago

why doesn't he buy 50 and paint them? Then resell to that boy market?

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